Since Vedic times, Indians had been required to correctly recite, the Vedas. The correctness in recitation was very important as the Vedas were, in those days, transmitted through memory (Smriti) and were learnt through hearing (Shruti). This was so, as writing was absent in early Vedic times. Even today the Vedas are traditionally learnt through oral studies.

This kind of an emphasis on recitation the correct pronounciation lead to studies in phonetics and sound manupulation. This was the birthplace of Indian Musical Raga (metre) and Swaras (rhymes). That Music in ancient India was given considerable recognition is illustrated by the fact that Saraswati, the Indian goddess of learning is shown to be holding a musical instrument (Veena) in her hand.

Traditionally, vocal music in India has tended to be devotional music (Bhakti-geet), and temples have been places (as they still are) where musicians used to practice music to please the deity and the devotees. Indian vocal music is broadly divided into two schools viz. the Hindustani or north Indian school and the Carnatic or South Indian school. As far as instrumental music goes there is a general identity of instruments that have been used.The main Indian musical instru ments are the Sarod, the Veena, the Sarangi, the Tambora, the Harmonium, the Ghata, the Tabla, the Tanpura, the Satar, etc.

As compared to art and architecture Indian music has had less impact on the outside world. This was so as most of Indian musical instruments require specialised ma terial and craftsmanship for their manufac ture. And in the absence of transmission of these skills and the absence of trade in mu sical instruments, alongwith the necessity of long and ardous practice which was required to master these instruments, made the transmission of music a difficult task.

However, as far as, devotional vocal music goes, Indian musical traditions did travel to the countries of South east Asia. The instru mental and vocal music of Korea has many elements of Indian music, which it received alongwith the Buddhist invocative and devo tional songs and slokas (religious couplets). Alongwith Buddhism, some Indian musical instruments like the flute (bansi), temples bell (Ghanta), etc., went to the countries of south-east Asia. Even Europe owes certain instruments to India. Two popular European musical instruments namely the flute and violin are believed to be of Indian origin. Though we do not know about the process of transmission of these instruments, however in India the flute (bansi) and the violin (a variant of the Veena) are definitely indigenously Indian.

A pointer to the fact that these instruments have been in usage in India since a very long time is that the bansi is associated with Sri Krishna and the Veena with the goddess Saraswati.

This apart, in modern times the western musical instruments like the Tambourin and the Tambour are adaptations of the Indian Tambora and Tanpura. The names Tambourin and Tambour are also derived from the word Tambora. The Saralngi, another Indian musical instrument has also found its place in western music. The acceptance of these musical instruments in the west is also evident from the fact that the words Tambora, Sarangi and Tabla are mentioned in the Oxford Dictionary.


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